Today’s a great day to give your email’s spam filter its due props: on April 12, 1994, the fist incident of mass commercial spamming occurred. We’re not talking green eggs & spam here, but rather the now-infamous Green Card Spam; that first mass emailed solicitation was from a pair of immigration lawyers & carried “Green Card” as a subject line.

While we tend to accept spam as both an unavoidable nuisance and a thoroughly modern thing, the idea isn’t necessarily a new one: over a century ago, unscrupulous advertisers used Western Union’s telegraphic network to send mass telegrams. Since a telegram could be sent to multiple recipients, it was possible to send a solicitation to a number of folks at once. In fact, the first recorded instance of the sending of such a mass commercial telegram happened in May 1864.

We promise you this: we’ll never, ever spam you. And we’ll never sell or give away your email address or other personal information. We encourage you to share your email address with us as a way to contact you if we can’t reach you by phone, but you have our word that we’d never use it for any other reason. And if you’d rather not share it? That’s perfectly fine.